Wednesday Service Plays

Wednesday Service Plays

THE GOLD SHEET - COLLEGE FOOTBALL:

MOTOR CITY BOWL
PURDUE (7-5) vs. CENTR
AL MICHIGAN (8-5)

Wednesday, December 26 Night at Detroit, MI (Dome; FieldTurf)

*Purdue 43 - CENTRAL MICHIGAN 27–

This game is a rematch from Sept.15, when Purdue’s offense dominated early, building a 38-0 lead midway through the third quarter. CMU mounted a modest comeback, but never really threatened in 45-22 final, and most of Chippewas’ yardage came after the winner had been decided. The Boilermakers piled up 583 yards behind Curtis Painter’s 29-of-39, 3-TD, 360-YP performance. Purdue RB Jaycen Taylor broke his arm in that game after carrying just 3 times for 28 yards, and sub Kory Sheets filled in with 144 YR. Painter has thrown for 7285 yards and 48 TDs the past 2 seasons, and cut his interceptions to 9 this year (in 515 attempts). Painter’s favorite targets are WR Dorien Bryant (82 catches, 8 TDs), 5th-year sr. TE Dustin Keller (117 recs. the last 2 seasons), and WR Greg Orton (58 catches in each of the last 2 seasons).Painter’s receiving corps has thinned somewhat since the Sept. 15 game. WR Selwyn Lymon (40 catches in ‘07, 6 of those on Sept. 15) was kicked off the team in late November after his arrest for DUI. On the positive side, RB Taylor returned to action in October and added speed to the running game, including a 157-yard performance against Northwestern.

While we respect the accomplishments of multi-threat CMU soph QB Dan LeFevour, who ran for 1008 yds. & 17 TDs this season in addition to throwing for 3360 & 23, it’s the Chippewa defense that is the problem. CMU wasn’t able to stop anyone outside of an injury-riddled N. Illinois side during the regular season and a limited Miami-Ohio attack in the MAC Championship game. Non-MAC foes have scored 47 ppg against CMU, and the Chips were 111th in the country in pass defense. While LeFevour is a dynamic force in the MAC, he had 3 of his 4 least productive performances this season in non-conference action. Admittedly, Purdue goes into this game on a 3-game losing streak, but those losses were against bowl-bound Big Ten teams, as were all the Boilermaker setbacks this season. The Boilers kept LeFevour in the pocket in their first meeting, holding him to 26 YR (tied his season-low), and it’s his running ability that makes the CMU offense effective. Purdue has more receiving threats, more options in the running game, and a much better defense.

(07-PURDUE 45-C. Mich. 22...P.30-23 P.37/223 C.33/101 C.35/56/1/364 P.29/40/1/360 P.4 C.2)

(07-PURDUE -21' 45-22...SR: Central Michigan 2-1)
TEAM GP SUR PSR PF PA YR YP T-R-P YR YP T-R-P TO DIFF OPR
Purdue 11 6-5 5-5 31 26 132 281 43-18-21 155 243 35-19-15 +3 1.8 12.2
C. MICHIGAN12 8-4 6-4 35 35 191 269 58-33-23 165 287 57-24-30 +6 -.1 18.7

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SPORTS MEMO

Purdue vs. Central Michigan +9 O/U 71.5 Recommendation: Central Michigan
Wednesday, December 26, 7:30 pm EST (ESPN) Detroit, Mich

These two teams met back in early September in West Lafayette and the result was not pretty for Chippewas backers. The Boilermakers jumped out quickly to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter on the back of Kory Sheets and arm of Curtis Painter. They would eventually extend that lead to 31-0 at half, and 38-0 after the first possession of the second half. Plain and simple, it was a steamroll. Purdue would go on to start 5-0 breaking into the top 25 with a chance to knock off the mighty Ohio State at home in a National TV game with major title implications. They failed, miserably, and it started a downward spiral that seems to repeat itself every season under Joe Tiller. Purdue lost five of its last seven games straight up (including their final three) and we have no reason to believe they will bring a top notch effort in this second-tier bowl game against a team they dominated so thoroughly already this year. Going back to that meeting in week three, we have to wonder how much stock to put into the result? Central Michigan lost two offensive line starters and its best pass rusher to the NFL and its second leading tackler to graduation. This was a team in early transition that really had nothing to play for before the MAC season started, knowing full well that a second straight MAC Championship was the goal all along. Comparing statistics on offense and defense shows some impressive numbers from both sides’ offensive
units. Tiller’s basketball on grass spread attack has been run rather effectively by Curtis Painter this season leading Purdue to the 37th ranked offense in terms of total yardage. Painter’s touch was superb through most of the campaign, throwing for 3,300 yards on 62 percent completions with 26 TDs against just nine INTs. Painter’s
numbers, however, and the team’s play became more and more sloppy down the stretch. He fired three INTs in his final two games with just two TDs, and Kory Sheets has basically disappeared over this current seven-game stretch, amassing more than 70 yards just two times. The Chips will check in with the 22nd ranked total offense led by sophomore quarterback Dan LeFevour. In just his second season,LeFevour has cemented himself as the MAC’s best player, hands down. He has accumulated over 4,300 yards of total offense on his way to joining Vince Young as the only other quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.His 23 TDs through the air were impressive but his 17 on the ground were eye-popping as he nearly joined the exclusive Tim Tebow 20/20 club. Purdue would get the slight edge in total and scoring defense, allowing 385 yards and 25 points per game to CMU’s 450 yards and 35 points per game. But on a closer look at teams that run a similar offense to that of the Chippewas (Indiana, Michigan State,Minnesota) and you’ll see those numbers increase to nearly 544 yards and 33 points per game. Joe Tiller-led teams have gone just 3-7 in bowl games, 4-6 ATS, a long term losing proposition. By taking the points with Central Michigan, you’ll get the more motivated team with home state support and in-season revenge on its mind.

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NORTHCOAST POWERSWEEPS ( 6-0 SO FAR ) -->. 3-0 SIDES/ 3-0 TOTALS

PURDUE (7-5) C MICHIGAN (8-5)
MOTOR CITY BOWL

The Motor City Bowl finally landed a B10 opponent for the 1st time S/’03 as the Boilers dropped their L/3 gms and 5 of their L/7 after a 5-0 start. This is rematch of a Sept 15th meeting in which the Boilers won 45-22 after leading 31-0 at the half while compiling 402 yds. PU finished with 586 yds overall despite 5 TO’s including 4 fmbls. CM is 0-14 SU, 3-10-1 ATS vs the Big Ten S/’94 while Purdue is 34-7-1 SU but 3-5 ATS vs the MAC (2-0 TY). Purdue has gone bowling in 10 of the 11 yrs of Tiller’s tenure (3-6 SU & 4-5 ATS) with CM being the 1st non-BCS foe. Slow starts have been the norm as Purdue has fallen behind 95-0 in the L/6 bowls. The Boilers have played 8 gms vs bowl eligible teams (3-5 SU, 4-4 ATS) being slightly outscored 27.1-26.6 while outgaining those foes 397-388. CM was 1-3 SU and ATS being outscored 51-25 and outgained 537-427. This is the Boilers’ 1st trip to Ford Field where CM is 3-0 SUand ATS the L/2Y including two MAC Championship games and a 31-14 win over MT in LY’s Motor City Bowl. CM should have the crowd edge as they expect to sell 15,000 tickets while PU hopes to bring 5,000 fans. PU is 4-1-1 ATS an AF (2-1 TY). The Boilers have their most veteran team yet under Tiller with 9 senior starters and 17 upperclassmen. CM has 9 senior starters and 14 upperclassmen but also the MAC Freshman of the Year in Antonio Brown. Purdue last played on Nov 17 while CM played Dec 1.The Boilers started out ‘07 on fire winning their first 5 gms (CM, IAA E Ill & 3 tms with losing records) by 25 ppg. QB Painter ‘Breesed’ through those overmatched foes with an 18-3 ratio. Once PU got to the meat of their Big Ten schedule reality quickly set in as OSU and Michigan manhandled the Boilers by a combined 71-28 with 3 of PU’s TD’s coming in the L/1:00. PU rebounded to win their next 2 vs Iowa & NW before stumbling in their L/3. The Boilers had an inconsistent ground game with Sheets having fmbl problems and Taylor missing 4 gms with a broken arm. The receiving corps had 2 standouts in WR Bryant and TE Keller(Mackey semis) but 6’4” Lymon suffered a sophomore slump before eventually being kicked off the team. The OL is large (6’5” 310) and does a good job protecting Painter (23 sks allowed, 4.3%). Boilers are #39 in our off rankings. PU’s D (#58) returned 9 starters but the undersized front 4 (6’4” 269) struggled vs the run
(149 rush ypg, 4.0 allowed) and failed to generate a strong pass rush (24 sks). The LB’s were solid finishing as 4 of the team’s top 6 tacklers. Despite inj’s the secondary was greatly improved finishing #32 in our pass eff D with CB Vinson actually leading the team in tackles, pbu and int. PU had their best ST unit of the Tiller era finishing #5 with the one of the NCAA’s top KR units (#7) which scored 3 TD led by Bryant. CM has our #23 offense. Their main weapon is QB LeFevour who is #5 in the NCAA in total offense as he had over 3,000 yds passing and 1,000 yds rushing joining Vince Young as the only players to do so. LeFevour attended PU camps in HS but was never offered a scholarship by the Boilers. The Chippewas also have two RB’s who combined for over 1,000 yds rushing in Hoskins and LY’s leading rusher Sneed. Their top two WR’s, Brown and Anderson, have combined for 53% of CM’s receptions and 55% of their receiving yds. The OL avg 6’4” 294 with 3 seniors which has opened holes for 5.0 ypc while allowing just 16 sacks (3.1%). CM has our #112 def allowing 36 ppg with 5 gms over 40 pts including two over 50 pts. The DL avg 6’3” 264 with 2 seniors allowing 4.1 ypc with 22 sacks led by DE Zombo, who leads the team in sacks. The top three tacklers are all LB’s led by 2 seniors including Keith, the MAC’s #2 tackler. The Chippewas’ weakest link is the secondary with 4 underclassmen starters as they have our #110 pass eff D allowing 285 ypg (65%) and a poor 31-16 ratio. CM comes in with our #91 ranked ST’s unit. Brown was the bright spot of the ST leading the team in KR and PR with 1 TD.They allowed two return TD’s and 10.4 ypr on punts but just 19.4 on KR.This matchup gave us a 4H Key Selection winner in the first meeting as Purdue was a 21’ point favorite. The Boilermakers are now a single digit favorite and while CM has the emotional edge and is thrilled to be here, the disparity in talent will become obvious in the 2H. Purdue will be able to run the ball against a defense allowing 4.1 ypc and pass the ball against a secondary ranked #110 in our pass eff defense. Three straight bowl losses and a 24-7 loss to Mayland LY (outgained 429-285) will ensure that Purdue is ready. There’s also a big edge in coaching with Tiller matching up vs a bowl virgin.

FORECAST: PURDUE 48 Central Michigan 31 RATING: 4★

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WINNING POINTS

MOTOR CITY BOWL

PURDUE over CENTRAL MICHIGAN by 4

OK, so just how does an underdog close this much of a gap after losing 45-22 during
the regular season vs. this particular opponent, trailing 31-0 at halftime? First,
there is obviously an emotional factor that leads to a stronger effort after being
embarrassed, particularly when films of that earlier rout get shown over and over
during pre-game practices. But even more important is that the favorite allows the
game to be much closer because they simply can not find a reason to be excited.
That is the Purdue situation here. Having closed the season with three consecutive
losses, staying on campus into December and then taking a bus ride to Detroit over
the Christmas Holiday is more of a punishment than a reward. No, the Chippewa
defense can not be counted on to make many stops here, after allowing 30 first
downs and 583 yards in the first meeting, although they do have some of the walking
wounded back in the secondary. The key is to get enough production from Dan
LeFevour and the offense, and when you have a QB that just became the second
player in NCAA history to have over 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing in the
same season (Vince Young being the only other), you have a good starting point.
The Chippewas are also confident in this environment, where they have picked up
three decisive wins over the past 12 months, a pair of MAC Championship games,
and LY’s 31-14 bowl romp over Middle Tennessee. More enthusiasm puts them in
the game, lesser talent keeps them from winning outright. PURDUE 38-34.

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POINTWISE:  0-6 SO FAR

MOTOR CITY PURDUE 41 - Central Michigan 27 RATING: 5

ANALYSIS

Did anyone say revenge? Once in a bowl season is a rarity, but this year there are 2 such setups, with this contest joining that category, as the Boilermakers of Purdue (-22) pounded the Chippewas of Central Michigan, 45-22 on week #3 of this season. Purdue led it 38-0, before CM's LeFevour got hot, to narrow it to 38-22, before the eventual 1-pt Boiler cover. A 223-101 RY edge for PU in that rout. However, from a 5-0 start, & a Top 25 ranking, the Boilers would wind up on a 3-game slide, finishing tied for 7th in the Big Ten, along with Indiana, Michigan St, & Northwestern. Their 33 ppg "O" is led by prolific QB Painter, who threw for 3,300 yds, 26 TDs (9 INTs), but their "D" has impressed only sporadically, & they failed to cover in their last 4 away games. The Chips play on the turf of Ford Field for the 4th time in the past 2 years, & thus far, the results have been more than satisfactory, with 31-10 & 35-10 wins in the '06 & '07 MAC Title games, & a 31-14 win over Middle Tennessee in this bowl a year ago. Talk about your friendly confines. That bowl game, by the way, marked just their 3rd bowl trip (1st since the '94 Las Vegas). Jones has filled in nicely as head coach, after '06's head man Brian Kelly bolted for Cincinnati which losit its head coach to MIchigan St. The Chips are at their best in league play, as they are 114 pts ahead of the spread in their last 11 MAC games, but have a 164-90 pt deficit in their 4 non-conference games. LeFevour has been the quintessential steadying hand at QB, with a spectacular 6,229 PYs & 48 TDs the past 2 yrs. We would love to give the nod to the Chips, especially on this field, as such heavy dogs, but we simply can't dismiss that earlier 38-0 deficit.

PROPHECY: Purdue 41 - CENTRAL MICHIGAN 27 RATING: 5

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Norm Hitzges

Double Play--Purdue -8 vs Central Michigan


ACE ACE . ALLEN EASTMEN

1-5 SO FAR

Purdue Boilermakers -8


DR BOB ( 4-2 SO FAR )

OPINION ONLY:

Purdue (-8 ½) vs Central Michigan: Math favors Purdue by 10 points but situation slightly favors Central Michigan. Tough call, but I’ll lean slightly with Purdue.


Vegas Hotsheet ( 4-5 SO FAR)

401 C Michigan 20
402 Purdue 37

PURDUE -8½

FREE PICK: UNDER 71½

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MARC LAWRENCE BOWL PREDICTIONS: 5-1 SO FAR

Motorcity Bowl

Purdue by 3

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ANDY ISKOE COLLEGE BOWL SELECTIONS ( 2-4 SO FAR )

Motor City Bowl 3 Star CENTRAL MICHIGAN over Purdue


TEDDY COVERS

Central Michigan +8

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ASA Newsletter

Central Michigan(+9) over Purdue

As we’ve stated many times before, picking bowl games is a lot about who wants to be there versus who doesn’t want to be there. That theory applies perfectly to this game. The Boilers were looking for MUCH bigger things this season. They started the year 5-0 and there was talk of winning the Big Ten and a possible Jan. 1 bowl. Since that 5-0 start, Purdue has gone 2-5, barely squeaking into the final bowl spot for the Big Ten, the Motor City Bowl. This team is not at all excited about playing in the lowest bowl slot in the league when it was looking for a sunny, warm location to be making its post-season appearance.

Central Michigan was headed in the opposite direction to close out the season. After losing three of their first four games (including one at Purdue and we’ll get to that in a minute), the Chippewas have won seven of their last nine games. This is an experienced team that won the MAC Championship two straight years and is thrilled to be here. They wanted another shot at Purdue and now they get it. This time the game is on a neutral field rather than in West Lafayette. Take that back, it’s in Detroit, which will make it more of a “home” game for CMU. They have been talking about redemption ever since being paired with Purdue for this game.

The Boilers beat CMU 45-22 back on Sept. 15. As we stated earlier, the Chippewas were not playing well at that point in the season. They got down 31-0 at halftime and had trouble mustering any offense. At halftime, they made some adjustments and outscored Purdue 22-14 and put up 239 yards passing in the second half. Purdue, on the other hand, had only 65 total yards of offense in half number two.

As the season went along, Central Michigan became very balanced on offense. It ended the season averaging 265 yards passing and 182 yards on the ground. Quarterback Dan LeFevour had his second straight outstanding season throwing for over 3,300 yards and 23 touchdowns. This team should make hay versus a Purdue defense that was shredded by good teams. It allowed 436 yards per game and 32 points per game versus teams going to bowl games. The Boilers went 1-5 versus those teams with their only win coming versus this CMU squad. In fact, that was Purdue’s only win this year over a team with a .500 or better record.

Purdue isn’t thrilled being here in the first place and now it must play a team it already beat this season. No chance they come out fired up for this game. This stays very close with the Chippewas pulling the upset.

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Mighty Quinn

Purdue -8 1/2

9-27 last 36

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Drew Gordon

1. 400,000* Purdue
2. 50,000* Pistons
3. 50,000* Warriors

1. Purdue- So the Chippewas have some late season success against some pretty average MAC teams, while the Boilermakers falter in their last 3 games against bowl-bound Big Ten teams, and all of a sudden Purdue is a single-digit favorite, even after crushing Central Michigan 45-22 earlier this season? Sometime the guys in Vegas just plain screw up, and this is exactly one of those times.

Let's examine their match up back on September 15th, when the Boilermakers cruised to a 38-0 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, only to let the Chippewas score some garbage points late, to end up with our 45-22 shellacking. Guys, what has changed since then? Has the Chippewas defense gotten any better? Has Curtis Painter and this Boilermakers offense gotten any worse? The answer is no and no, as Purdue can and will dominate this match up once again.

The biggest difference between these two schools is defense, plain and simple. While some will argue their numbers are closer than they appear, that's if you don't take into account the level of competition, which clearly makes Purdue the better defense, allowing 24 ppg on the season. Remember guys, Purdue was able to limit dual-threat QB LaFevour to his lowest rushing yardage of the season (10 carries for 26 yards), and they can do it again tonight.

Finally, if you've seen this Chippewas defense play, there's no question Curtis Painter and company will shred them once again. The fact the Boilermakers have RB Jaycen Taylor back and healthy this time around only gives them that much more of an edge in the running game, where Central Michigan allows 165 yards rushing per contest. Once they establish RBs Taylor/Sheets, the passing game will be wide open for Painter and his top threats WR Bryant and TE Keller.

Bottom line, the Boilermakers may not win by as much as their first meeting earlier this season, but make no mistake, Purdue gets the solid win and cover in tonight's Motor City Bowl. With a huge edge on defense, and more than enough offense to manhandle a pathetic Chippewas defense, look for Purdue to open up their second can of whip-ass on this Central Michigan team tonight.

Take Purdue BIG over Central Michigan as your top-rated play of the day.

2. Pistons- New Jersey may have won two straight against a bad Miami team and a Warriors squad that's very beatable on the road, but tonight they take a major step up in competition, as the veteran Pistons come to town. Detroit will be looking to extend their 3 game winning streak SUATS in this series tonight, and based on the Nets pathetic play at home (4-11 ATS), I say they make it 4 in a row!

Biggest problem for New Jersey in this series has been cracking this Pistons defense, as they've averaged 96 ppg against Detroit over their last 3 meetings. The fact the Nets are struggling mightily to score only strengthens my play on the Pistons, as New Jersey can muster only 91 ppg on 43% shooting this season. Injuries (Krstic) and inconsistent play by everyone but Jefferson has doomed this Nets team and will doom them once again tonight.

Pistons are rolling, winners of 5 in a row SUATS, they've limited all 5 opponents to 87 points or less, and that includes high-octane teams like Golden State, Boston, and Memphis. If they can limit those teams offensively, than you better believe they'll have little trouble stopping a sputtering and fragmented Nets offense in this one.
Bottom line, I'm not impressed by the Nets recent wins, and I say they get right back to their struggles against a superior and surging Pistons team tonight. New Jersey has issues once again with this Pistons defense, while the same cannot be said for Billups and company, who'll take care of the business on both ends of the court in this one.

Take the Pistons comfortably over Nets in this NBA match up.

3. Warriors- This is a mismatch if I've ever seen one, as you couldn't pair two more different teams if you tried. Its not all the 'Wolves fault, as injuries have decimated this roster, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that Minnesota is playing as if they don't care, losing ugly game after ugly game.

Take their last road game for example, as they get walloped by New Orleans 110-76... The game was over by halftime, and the 'Wolves effort on both ends of the court was embarrassing to say the least. They allowed the Hornets to shot 53% and forced only 9 turnovers. While offensively, Ryan Gomes was the only player I saw who actually put forth a decent effort.

One thing we know for sure about the Warriors is their offense is outstanding at home, averaging 118 ppg over their last 7 in Oakland. It would be one thing if Minny had any concept of defense, but being that they're allowing 105 ppg over their last 5 games, I have little reason to believe they'll limit Baron Davis and company even in the slightest.

Finally, its also important to consider, this is the first time in over two weeks that the Warriors are playing at home. After a relatively successful road trip, look for the Warriors to really lay it on thick tonight at home, as facing a soft West Coast team after bumping and bruising with the likes of Cleveland and New Jersey is exactly what this offense needs... A chance to run. Note the favorite is 7-2 ATS over the last 9 meetings in this series, and you can make it 8-2 ATS after tonight!
Take the Warriors BIG over the Timberwolves in late NBA

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ARMVIN SPORTS

CFB

PURDUE -8

NHL

BUFFALO -104
TAMPA BAY 111
SAN JOSE at LOS ANGELES Over 5.5

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LVTR

Purdue -7 Buy Hook

NBA

Wizards +4
Hornets -2.5
Spurs - 9.5

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Ben Burns' Motor City Bowl MASSACRE (3-0 L3, 15-7 L22) - Wednesday

I'm taking the points with CENTRAL MICHIGAN. Regardless of the sport or time of year, I always believe that "motivation" plays a big part in determining which team will emerge victorious and/or cover the spread. I believe that to be particularly true during the college bowl season. We don't have to look very far back for an example. On Sunday, in the most recent Bowl Game, Boise State was laying double-digits vs. East Carolina. While arguably not as talented, the Pirates were the "hungrier" team and managed to score the outright upset. I believe that this evening's underdog will also be extremely motivated. For starters, the game is practically right in their backyard as it's being held at Ford Field in Detroit. This will also be Central Michigan's first bowl game against a team from the Big 10. Additionally, the Chippewas will be playing with "revenge" as they were embarrassed at Purdue back in mid-September. The team has come a long way since then though. Indeed, the Chippewas will have a much healthier secondary and a defense that has finally coalesced after a season that saw coach Butch Jones and his staff forced to move players around and into unfamiliar positions due to injuries. Most recently, the Chippewas held Miami Ohio to a mere 10 points. In fact, over their last two games they held Akron and Miami to an average of only 314 yards. While the defense is playing its best football of the season, the CMU offense has also been clicking on all cylinders for months now. Indeed, the Chippewas scored more than 30 points in each of their last five games and in eight of their last nine. QB Dan LeFevour is a dynamic player that has beaten teams with both his arm and his legs. LeFevour accounted for a league-leading 4,368 yards of total offense (fifth nationally) and 40 touchdowns (17 rushing; 23 passing). He possesses two of the MAC's top pass catchers: freshman Antonio Brown, the league receptions leader (98 receptions, 909 yards), and sophomore Bryan Anderson (83 receptions, 1003 yards). While LeFevour is also the team's leading ground gainer with 1,008 yards rushing this season, the Chippewas' tailback tandem of junior Ontario Sneed and former Notre Dame transfer Justin Hoskins have combined for 1,133 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. Purdue has a potent passing attack of its own and QB Painter had his way in the earlier meeting. As mentioned though, the Chippewas' secondary is much healthier now and the defense is playing its best football. Looking at some stats and we find that the Chippewas are 24-10 ATS in all lined games since 2005, including an impressive 3-0 SU/ATS mark when playing on a neutral field and a 7-2 SU/ATS record when facing a team with a winning record. During the same stretch, the Boilermakers are 0-1 SU/ATS on a neutral field and 6-12 ATS (3-15 SU!) when playing a team with a winning record. Expect them to have their hands full against the highly motivated Chippewas here. *Motor City Massacre

Ben Burns "TOTAL" ANNIHILATOR (29-8 L37 NBA TOTALS!) - Wednesday

I'm playing on the Mavericks and Jazz to finish UNDER the total.

These teams played an extermely high-scoring game against each other at Dallas earlier this month. The Jazz were coming off a tough loss vs. the Spurs the previous night and didn't play with any defensive intensity. Both teams would shoot above 60% for the game. That wasn't "normal" though as 12 of the previous 19 series meetings had all fallen below the total. The games at Utah have been particularly low-scoring. In fact, the UNDER is 5-1 the last six series meetings here and and a profitable 11-4 the last 15. Including those results, the Mavs have seen the UNDER go an impressive 41-18 the last 59 times that they faced an opponent from the Northwest division. The Jazz come in off an upset loss, as slight road favorites at Miami. That wasn't surprising though as they had upset the Magic at Orlando the previous night. Overall, the UNDER is 6-2 their last eight games. Its also worth noting that they've seen the UNDER go 6-3 for the season when coming off a SU loss as a favorite and 8-3 when facing a team which scores 99 or more points per game. The Jazz played well defensively last Boxing Day (Dec. 26) as they held the Clippers to 92 points. That game stayed below the number. The Mavs also played very well defensively on the day after Christmas last season. In fact, they limited the Bobcats to only 84 points. The previous season, on 12/26/05, they held the Pacers to a mere 80 points. It was more of the same in 2004 as the Mavs came back from Christmas, traveled to Denver, and held the Nuggets to only 88 points. Currently, the Mavs has seen each of their last two games stay below the number which has brought the UNDER to 6-1 their last seven games. I feel the number is too high and I'm expecting another relatively low-scoring contest tonight. *Annihilator

Ben Burns' 3-GAME NBA EXECUTIVE REPORT (11-2 L13 Exec. Reports) - Wednesday

This 3-Game Report includes plays on the BULLS, NETS and KINGS.

I'm taking the points with NEW JERSEY. As usual, the Pistons have a strong team. They're currently sitting on top the Central division with a 20-7 overall mark, second to only Boston in the entire league. That being said, I feel they're laying too many points tonight. Note that nine of the last 10 series meetings here have seen one of the teams favored by four points or less. The Nets are a much better team than their record indicates. They were also starting to build some momentum before the break with back to back SU/ATS wins at Miami and then vs. Golden State. While they've had a few days off, its worth mentioning that the Nets have gone 12-3 SU and 10-4-1 ATS the last 15 times they were playing with three or more day's rest in between games. The Nets' "Big 3" played up to their potential last time out. Kidd recorded his league-leading seventh triple-double (94th of his career) with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Jefferson scored a game-high 31 points and Vince Carter added 23 points and 12 boards. Playing with "revenge" from an embarrassing loss at Detroit, look for Kidd and co. to give their guests all they can handle here, earning (at least) the cover vs. the generous number.

I'm taking the points with CHICAGO. The Spurs went into last season's Christmas Break having won six of seven games. As you know, they continued to play very well after the break and went on to eventually win their fourth championship since 1999. However, there were a few bumps along the way. One of them occurred on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) when the Spurs hosted the Bucks. Despite the fact that they were playing without Ginobili, the Spurs were favored by eight points. They went on to give up 114 points en route to a 114-107 defeat. Note that Milwaukee went 1 for 11 in 3-point shots in that game, instead earning their 114 points (at least 111 of them) the hard way. I'm not sure if it was the turkey from the night before which was affecting the Spurs, but the Bucks had a remarabke 76-40 advantage in points in the paint. This year, the Spurs also return from the Christmas Break with a very similar record (19-7) to the 21-7 mark they had last season. They're also likely without Ginobili again (Note that I'm playing the Bulls regardless of whether or not he plays) and laying a slightly bigger number to what they did in last season's game vs. the Bucks. Despite their sub-par record, the Bulls are arguably still a better team than the Bucks were last season. They haven't had much success vs. the Spurs over the longterm. However, they did defeat them in the most recent meeting (at Chicago last season) and they also won here at San Antonio in 2005. That should give them some confidence coming into tonight's game. Teams often perform well in the first game after their coach has been fired and I expect that to be the case tonight. Look for the Bulls to give their hosts all they can handle, improving to 11-4 ATS the last 15 times they were underdogs of nine points or greater.

I'm taking the points with SACRAMENTO. The Celtics have certainly gotten off to a strong start. This is their first non-conference road game of the entire season though and I expect them to have some trouble. The Celts are likely coming off a big turkey dinner and they're also coming off five straight important games against Eastern Conference opponents. In fact, the Kings were the last team from the West which they faced. Note that the Celts won that game but that Sacramento covered the spread. Including that result, the Kings are an impressive 7-2 ATS (6-3 SU) in nine non-conference games. They're also a stellar 15-4 ATS (10-9 SU!) the last 19 times that they were home underdogs in the +6.5 to +9 range, including a perfect 6-0 ATS mark their last six in that role. On the other hand, the Celts are just 2-9 ATS the last 11 times they were listed as road favorites in the -6.5 to -9 range. Of course this is a very different Boston team. However, its still worth noting that the Kings are a perfect 11-0 the last 11 times they were a host in this series. They're also a profitable 9-4 ATS here for the season. Look for them to give their guests all they can handle here.

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Tom Striker's CFB Motor City Mauling - 11-1 ATS Sweet Situation

#402 PURDUE (-8) over Central Michigan at 7:30 PM EST

There are going to be a ton of handicappers crying revenge in this contest and I'm not buying it. Purdue has faced Central Michigan three times over the past nine years and won all three games (including the one back on September 15th) by the combined score of 151-38! Rest assured, off three consecutive losses, the Boilermakers will NOT take this game lightly.

Fading Central Michigan outside of conference play has never been a problem for me. In case you haven't noticed, the Chippewas are a horrendous 0-23 SU and 6-16-1 ATS when priced as an underdog and matched up against a non-conference foe. Even worse, as a pup priced at +5 or more and battling an opponent that checks in off two or more straight up losses, CMU is a nasty 0-12 SU and 1-11 ATS!

With a 38-24-1 ATS record, Purdue has displayed a history of bouncing back off two or more straight up losses. In this role priced as a favorite or an underdog of +5 or less, the Boilers improve to a sensational 24-10-1 ATS.

Statistically speaking, CMU's pass defense is ranked 111th in the country allowing 284.9 yards per game. In comparison, the Boilers pass offense which is ranked 17th in the nation averaging 287.3 yards per game will have no trouble at all moving the football up and down the field. Look for Boilermaker QB Curtis Painter and WR's Dorien Bryant and Greg Orton to have huge games. Take Purdue! Thank you and best of luck, T. S.

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L. Ness' Oddsmaker's Error-NBA total (1st TY!)

My Oddsmaker's Error is on Dal/Ut Over at 9:05 ET.

Dallas (19-9) is nearly two-thirds of the way to its total number of losses from all of last season when it finished an NBA-best 67-15. However, the Mavs will go for a season-high sixth straight win tonight when they visit the Jazz in a rematch of a high-scoring game from earlier this month. Utah (15-14) got off to a strong start before losing nine of its last 11 games to fall into third place in the Northwest Division, which it won last season. The Jazz completed a 1-3 road trip with a 104-102 loss at Miami on Saturday. This is the first meeting between the teams since Utah's Deron Williams and Dallas' Josh Howard engaged in a scoring duel in the Mavs' 125-117 victory on Dec 8. Both players had career highs as Williams scored 41 points but was bested by Howard's 47. Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points on Friday in a 102-89 win over the Clippers, after he turned in back-to-back 31-point efforts. The reigning league MVP started a bit slowly this year, scoring at 30 points or more just four times in his first 25 games. However, he's "in the zone" these days, with those three straight 30-point games and FIVE in his last nine! Utah's Carlos Boozer (24.7-8.7) also creates a matchup problem for Dallas and I have no explanation for why this total opened about six points lower than the closing total of the previous game. Oddsmaker's Error on Dal/Utah Over.

L. Ness' Weekly Wipeout Winner-NBA

My Weekly Wipeout Winner is on the Den Nuggets at 9:05 ET.

In Saturday's 103-99 win over Charlotte, Yi was 14-of-17 from the field for Milwaukee, while compiling a career-high 29 points and 10 rebounds. He had averaged 10.3 points coming in but gave Milwaukee a glimpse of what they were hoping for when they drafted the 6-foot-11 Chinese forward sixth overall. Michael Redd (23.9-5.2-3.9) added 27 points while Mo Williams (15.3-3.8-6.9) had 22 and nine assists in the game. Yi, who is averaging just 9.2 PPG on the road, will try and help Milwaukee to a rare road win tonight in Denver. The Bucks have lost five straight away from home, as well as 12 of 14 this season (4-9-1 ATS). Milwaukee has also lost eight of nine to the Nuggets since the 2002-03 season! The Nuggets should be happy to get the Bucks tonight, as Denver has lost three of its last five, with the two wins coming at home over Houston in 2-OTs (112-111) and at Sacramento (106-105). A 'breather" might be nice and the Bucks should provide the perfect foil. Kenyon Martin may miss again (strained hamstring) but Marcus Camby (8.7-14.3) came back from a bruised back to score 19 points and grab 14 rebounds in the win over the Kings. The one-two punch of Iverson (26.4) and Carmelo (25.4) will be too much for the poor-traveling Bucks. Weekly Wipeout Winner on the Den Nuggets.

L. Ness' Las Vegas Insider (Motor City Bowl)

My Las Vegas Insider is on Purdue at 7:30 ET.

Ford Field has been good to Central Michigan, as the Chippewas have won two straight MAC title games on this field, as well as LY's Motor City Bowl. In QB Dan LeFevour, CMU owns the only QB other than Vince Young (while at Texas) to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season. CMU is also playing with revenge from a September 15 loss at West Lafayette to Purdue, 45-22. Now here's the rub. CMU has NOT been able to play outside the MAC this year and unlike in LY's Motor City Bowl, the opponent is a Big 10 team, not a SBC one (MTSU)! CMU's defense ranked 106th in total yards allowed (450.2) and 107th in PPG (35.8). Its pass D allowed 65.4% completions, an average of just about 285 YPG through the air plus allowed 31 TDPs with just 16 INTs. However, that just tells part of the story. CMU allowed an obscene 553.3 YPG and 52.8 PPG in its four non-MAC games TY (excluding Army)! As for the "talented Mr. LeFevour," he topped 204 yards passing in just ONE of those four games (twice held under 200), had a modest 6-4 ratio and averaged just 33 YPG on the ground (compared to 97 YPG in his other nine games). Purdue finished on a three-game losing streak and was just 7-5 on the year but all FIVE of the Boilermakers' losses came against teams which are in bowls (41-19 combined record). QB Curtis Painter threw for 3,985 yards LY and while he's down some TY (3,300), his TDPs are up from 22 to 26 and his INTs are down from 19 to 9! In his two games vs MAC opponents in '07 (Toledo and CMU), he's led Purdue to 52 and 45 points, averaging 302 YPG in the air and posting a 9-0 ratio. Las Vegas Insider on Purdue

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Arthur Ralph

Super Pick Detroit Pistons WED

900 Best Bet Central Michigan Motor City Bowl

Super Picks Last 25 17-8

Bowls 4-0 Start

Double Plays FB 4-0 Run

NFL last 9 wks 76 % winners

Free plays 50-24 last 74

He is 4-0 in the bowls (1 a free play, 3 regular plays) his superpick is 0-5 last 5 after winning 10 in a row. Good luck.

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Indiana (+2) at ATLANTA

By Sports Gambling Hotline, Featured Handicapper

Christmas Day comp winner on Portland minus the points last night to make it a 31-18 free play run the last 49 days!

This free play comes down to the fact we just don't believe the upstart Hawks will continue at their present pace. Atlanta went to the Christmas break having won and covered 4 in a row, but we are not so sure this young team is ready to take that next step and extend their streak to 5 straight.

Indiana has been playing some decent ball of their own, as the Pacers come in having won 6 of their last 9 games straight up. The Pacers are proving to be road warriors of late as well, covering in 7 of their last 10 on the road.

This is the first meeting of the season between the teams, and Indy has won and covered 3 of the last 4 meetings. We will play the Pacers to make it 4 of 5 tonight with the road win at Atlanta.

Play on the Pacers.

1* INDIANA

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Frank Rosenthal

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
MOTOR CITY BOWL
CENTRAL MICHIGAN VS PURDUE
402 PURDUE-7.5 SB
OVER 70.5 SB

NBA
502 76ERS-2.5 SB
510 JERSEY+6 SB
513 BULLS+10 SB
521 WOLVES OVER 208 SB

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